Brands, celebs and iconic sites go pink to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1 / 3
The White House in Washington has kept to its almost decade-old tradition and turned pink . (File photo: AP)
2 / 3
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in pink on September 27, 2017 in Paris. (AFP)
3 / 3
The Milan gothic cathedral is illuminated in pink to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer, in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (AP)
Updated 08 October 2017

Brands, celebs and iconic sites go pink to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month

LONDON: Pink October is underway as events organized by charities, brands and governments around the world mark breast cancer awareness month.
This global health movement has grown to become one of the most highly anticipated months in the annual events calendar around the world.
Fashion and lifestyle merchandise lead the pink trend and this year is no different.
With an emphasis on encouraging men and women to incorporate pink into their fashion choices, the campaign aims to raise awareness of early breast cancer detection as well as to fundraise for essential life-saving research into the disease.
US singer Alicia Keys and designer Stella McCartney are leading the pink fashion revolution this year. The two giants in the music and fashion industries have teamed up to launch a lingerie line — the limited edition Ophelia Whistling set in Japanese “Poppy Pink” lace. The funds from sales of the line will be divided between two charity initiatives important to the women who have both had family members affected by breast cancer.
For Alicia Keys, the focus is the Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Examination Center of Harlem — the district in which she was born and raised in New York. For McCartney it is the Linda McCartney Center, which is part of Royal Liverpool University Hospital and was set up in her late mother’s name in 2000.
In a video, both the designer and musician talk about the disease and how they have both been affected by it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has grown since it was launched more than 25 years ago. Some of the events have provided a pink spotlight on the crucial cause.
The night sky has been turning pink as iconic landmarks around the world have been illuminated to generate awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
The White House in Washington has kept to its decade-old tradition and turned pink at the start of the month in a ceremony that was first initiated by President George W. Bush in 2008.
Tweeting from the house, Melania Trump said:

Meanwhile, in the English county of Herefordshire the Madley Earth Station is beaming out a pink ray of light to mark the month.
Another striking example is being showcased at the Pennsylvania state Capitol East Wing Fountain. The fountain is flowing pink-dyed water throughout the entire month of October to serve as a reminder to all women of the importance of mammograms and early detection.
This year’s breast cancer awareness month coincides with the 25th anniversary of the pink ribbon, a powerful symbol for millions of people affected by the disease and one that Arab News is championing on its print masthead throughout the month.
Breast cancer awareness month has been developed by major charities to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer education, research and prevention, along with support to those who suffer from the disease.
Breast Cancer Care was the first UK charity to adopt the pink ribbon, providing the country with a much-needed shortcut to talking about breast cancer and establishing it in the hearts and minds of the nation.
Talking to Arab News, Samia Al-Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, explains the significance of the campaign over the years.
“It sends a powerful message and is responsible for making millions of women more ‘breast aware’ and catapulting awareness of breast cancer into the mainstream.
“Today, more people than ever are surviving, but the reality is that every 10 minutes someone new is told they have breast cancer. There’s never been a greater need for our life-changing support both for today and tomorrow. We can help women and men feel more in control,” she added.
As breast cancer awareness month continues, expect to see a lot more of the color pink in the coming days. Creating awareness for women to be able to detect the signs and symptoms of breast cancer sooner can make all the difference in more effective treatment and, ultimately, save more lives.


High-end rebrand makes life sweet for Japan’s ‘ice farmers’

Updated 18 August 2019

High-end rebrand makes life sweet for Japan’s ‘ice farmers’

  • Reinventing natural-made ice as a high-end artisanal product has helped revive the ice-farming trade
  • The blocks are sold to some of Tokyo’s high-end shaved ice shops as well as department stores

NIKKO, Japan: In a mountainous area north of Tokyo, a priest blows a conch shell as Yuichiro Yamamoto bows and thanks the nature gods for this year’s “good harvest”: natural ice.
Yamamoto is one of Japan’s few remaining “ice farmers,” eschewing the ease of refrigeration for open-air pools to create a product that is sold to high-end shaved ice shops in trendy Tokyo districts.
His trade had all but disappeared in recent decades, and the shaved ice or kakigori that is popular throughout Japan in summer had been produced with cheap machine-made ice.
But reinventing natural-made ice as a high-end artisanal product has helped revive the sector and save his firm.
“When I started making natural ice, I wondered how I should market it. I thought I needed to transform kakigori,” Yamamoto says at his ice-making field in the town of Nikko, north of Tokyo.
Yamamoto took over a traditional ice-making business 13 years ago in Nikko, where he also runs a leisure park.
At the time, shaved ice cost just ¥200 ($2) in the local area and Yamamoto, who was fascinated by traditional ice-making, knew he couldn’t make ends meet.
“My predecessor used to sell ice at the same price as the fridge-made one, which can be manufactured easily anytime throughout the year,” the 68-year-old says.
The situation made it “impossible” to compete he explains, as producing natural ice is labor intensive.
Instead he decided to transform cheap kakigori into a luxury dessert, made with his natural ice and high-grade fruit puree rather than artificially flavored syrup.
After months of research, he began producing his own small batches of artisanal kakigori.
“I put the price tag at ¥800 for a bowl of kakigori. I also priced the ice at ¥9,000 per case, which is six times more than my predecessor,” he says.
At first, there were days he threw away tons of ice because he could not find clients.
But one day buyers from the prestigious Mitsukoshi department store discovered his product, and began stocking it, turning around his fortunes.
Kakigori dates back to the Heian Period (794-1185) when aristocratic court culture flourished in the then-capital of Kyoto.
It was a rare delicacy reserved for the rich, with the ice naturally made and stored in mountainside holes covered with silver sheets.
It was only after 1883, when the first ice-making factory was built in Tokyo, that ordinary people could taste the dessert.
With the development of ice-making machines, the number of traditional ice makers dropped to fewer than 10 nationwide.
The story is one familiar to many traditional Japanese crafts and foodstuffs — with expensive and labor-intensive products losing ground as cheaper, machine-driven versions become available.
And making ice naturally is a grueling task.
The season begins in the autumn when workers prepare a swimming-pool-like pit by cultivating the soil and pouring in spring water.
Thin frozen initial layers are scraped away along with dirt and fallen leaves.
The ice-making begins in earnest in the winter, when water is poured in to freeze solid, but it must be carefully protected. Producers regularly scrape off snow that can slow the freezing process.
“I once spent 16 hours non-stop removing snow,” Yamamoto recalls.
And rain too can ruin the product, causing cracks that mean the whole batch has to be discarded.
“I check the weather forecast 10 times a day,” Yamamoto laughs.
Once the ice is 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) thick, which takes at least two weeks, workers begin cutting out rectangular blocks.
Each block, which weighs about 40 kilograms (88 pounds), is glided into an ice room filled with sawdust on a long bamboo slide.
The blocks are sold to some of Tokyo’s high-end shaved ice shops as well as department stores.
In the Yanaka district, more than 1,000 people queue up every day for a taste of kakigori made with natural ice produced by another ice-maker from Nikko.
Owner Koji Morinishi says the naturally made ice has a texture that is different from machine-made products.
“It feels very different when you shave it. It’s harder because it’s frozen over a long period of time,” explains Morinishi.
“It’s easier to shave really thin if the ice is hard. If not hard, it dissolves too quickly.”
Morinishi himself struggled when he first opened the kakigori shop, but has gradually built a cult following for his desserts topped with purees of mango, watermelon, peach or other fruit.
And Yamamoto’s firm has seen demand soar — he now harvests 160 tons a year and knows two new producers who have entered the market.
He says: “This business has become attractive and the ice makers are all busy.”